The day I woke up and knew.
The day I found out.
The day I was induced.
The day she was born.
These days arrive, and the hair on my body stands on end.
I know it is time because everything, everything my husband says to me, I second guess. I become sensitive, fragile, breakable at any given moment. I am on edge.
I walk down the street looking at girls and wonder, "Is she nine? She looks nine." I've even asked a few girls, "How old are you?"
Nine. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
Nine impossible years without. And still, and yet...
It is not impossible to find joy for joy exists. It is not impossible to find happiness and love and laughter.
All of these things exist within and without, but what never goes away, what never disappears is that deep ache, that pull toward longing.
If I were to ask you, do you expect that one day you will wake up joyless for the rest of your life? That one day, you may wake up to find happiness has left you never to return? Of course not. So too, does grief never leave. So too does my longing and aching and pining for Grace never leave. It is there side by side next to the joy and happiness that my other children bring. And this time of year, this time of remembering, of experiencing, of waiting, it returns and I am once again drawn back toward that darkness, toward that dark week of waiting, of asking hard questions, of wondering, what could possibly have gone wrong and when, if ever, will anything be right again.
Yes, yes, things are right and lovely and beautiful and exciting and fun, and yes, things are still longing, and aching and missing and vacuous.
The hole in my heart will never completely close; it will always feel broken, feel without, feel not fully whole and still, there if you peer inside, you will see indescribable joy, you will notice unbelievable love.
You will find me still broken and still grieving and still madly, deeply in love with all of my children.
So when you see me this week, when you notice my eyes fill with tears, let me have my moment, my remembering, my pain. Because that pain is one way to express my deep longing, my love for Grace, this ache inside of me that this week shouts out, I am fragile, I am broken, please tread lightly in my presence.
I am a bereaved mother who desperately misses her daughter. I am the mother of four children, and I selfishly still want all four of my children here.
I miss her every single day of my entire life.
I am and will always be Grace's mommy. And I will always long for her back in my arms.